April 24, 2017
Online retailer Yoox Net-A-Porter Group is setting sight on luxury retail’s future by voicing its responsibility and the opportunity its business has to empower and create a more sustainable tomorrow.
To bring its future vision to fruition, Yoox Net-A-Porter Group plans to lead by example by sharing its knowledge and making innovative headways in the luxury retail sector. Across the luxury landscape brands have been increasingly transparent regarding employee benefits, manufacturing processes and other corporate social responsibility touchpoints to demonstrate the industry's pioneering nature.
"We must work as a catalyst, sharing knowledge, innovating, leading by example, to translate our vision into a reality," said Federico Marchetti, CEO of Yoox Net-A-Porter Group, London.
Sustainable inside and out
Yoox Net-A-Porter’s sustainability pledge lies on three pillars: education, empowering women and responsibility.
The retail group feels that education is crucial for its expansion and long-term success. Yoox Net-A-Porter spends ample time developing young talent to move its brands and the industry at large forward into the future.
Since employees are often a brand’s best advocates, Yoox Net-A-Porter has prioritized talent development. Notably, Yoox Net-A-Porter has invested in digital education to cultivate talent that will thrive in a digital economy.
For example, Yoox Net-A-Porter partnered with Italy’s Bologna Business School to launch a Center for Digital Business Education, combining their collective ecommerce expertise to help train managerial candidates for an increasingly digital world.
The first managerial education program focusing specifically on digital business will offer master's degree programs aimed at both new graduates and those with some years of on-the-job experience. Luxury brands have identified technology as a key area where finding qualified talent is especially hard, making this initiative a means to ensure that both Yoox Net-A-Porter and other businesses navigate the digital shift (see story).
Yoox Net-A-Porter Group's first pillar: Education: Empowering Potential
Yoox Net-A-Porter’s second CSR pillar is dedicated to empowering women by unlocking ambitions.
The group believes that empowering all women and closing the gender pay gap is not only a cause to stand behind, but a key business priority.
Sixty-one percent of Yoox Net-A-Porter employees are female, and 63 percent of 2016 new hires were women. Also, more than half of Yoox Net-A-Porter’s middle and senior managers are women, and its female leadership is paid on average 14 percent more than male counterparts.
Beyond its internal efforts dedicated to female empowerment, Yoox Net-A-Porter is also involved with the United Nations Women Global Equal Pay coalition and the Equal Pay Pledge White House initiative, formed under the Obama administration.
Yoox Net-A-Porter is also dedicated to furthering sustainability developments by minimizing its environmental impact and promoting ethically produced apparel and accessories.
One example of Yoox Net-A-Porter’s commitment to responsible retail was its launch of Yooxygen, the first to market online shop-in-shop selling sustainable fashion. Yooxygen was formed in partnership with New York’s Parsons School of Design.
Yoox Net-A-Porter also adheres to the Fur Free Retailer Program. Across its multi-brand online stores no fur goods are sold.
Yoox Net-A-Porter Group's third pillar: Responsibility: Minimizing Impact
Going forward, the group intends to provide more information about its supply chains to enable Yoox Net-A-Porter consumers to make informed choices about luxury fashion purchases.
Also, Yoox Net-A-Porter is committed to becoming 100 percent renewable by 2020.
For the future
As brands become increasingly transparent in their business practices, employee benefit programs have been put into the limelight, with many groups publicizing initiatives intended for work-life balance.
Sustainability is as popular as ever, with luxury conglomerates such as Kering Group and LVMH emphasizing and sharing their ethical, environmentally friendly efforts to demonstrate their corporate social responsibility to consumers. Internally, employees are a brand's most valuable and vocal advocates as they live and breath the ethos of a given house, making quality of life while at work an important support factor, especially as many brands struggle to find and retain talent (see story).
Across luxury there are countless examples of businesses giving back for the greater good.
For example, France’s Kering Group furthered its advocacy for women’s rights with the introduction of a parental leave policy for all employees globally (see story).
French luxury conglomerate LVMH, for instance, recently announced it plans to invest further into London’s Central Saint Martins, whose alums include Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney.
Also, online retailer Farfetch is letting all employees benefit from its success with the introduction of a share option scheme (see story).
Whether policies impact in-house employees or consumers, these CSR programs are successful in empowering individuals and act as catalyst for a better future.
"Supporting our employees’ growth extends beyond compensation," Yoox Net-A-Porter Group's Mr. Marchetti said.
"We are committed to growing an inclusive and supportive culture by rethinking the workplace with flexible working programs for parents and mobile applications tailored to improve communication and enable on-the-go knowledge sharing and collaboration," he said.
"We are proud that our initiatives have led us to be recognized as an employer of choice globally".